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Archive for October, 2018

Following Fall: Learning to Let Go

I have been reluctant to write about fall this year.

It felt like it was not going to arrive.

The wet and warm summer days lingered into the first weeks of this new season. Even though the days were getting shorter, the trees were hanging on to those green leaves and the temperatures were some days warmer than warm.

In some ways it felt good to have summer linger.

Even if innately it felt wrong and delayed.

Maybe we were all taking our time to transition this year?

Maybe nature was trying to tell us that  it was okay to start letting go a little later?


 

I still believe that nature has a way of teaching us everything we need to know. If we pause to watch, hear, and feel, we can learn so much from the rhythm of the days.

Now that fall has truly arrived with crispy air and fall foliage, shorter days and Halloween decorations, let’s tune in and learn from nature how to let go of what we don’t need anymore. By doing so, we will be better prepared for the darker and shorter days to come.

Like the leaves that are falling from the trees, and the days that are letting go of sunlight, we must let go of some things that are no longer serving our mind and body.

Here are 4 simple ways to let go of things so that you can improve your life.

The first two have to do with your food choices to best nourish your body.

1. Let go of foods that don’t serve our body.

You know what these foods are. They are foods that make you feel bloated, gassy, and uncomfortable. They are also foods that you can’t stop eating even if it does not make you feel good (candy? alcohol? chips?).

Your body knows best and will let you know what it wants to let go of. All you have to do is listen to it, and choose to nourish the body instead of satisfying your mind.

2. Let go of eating at night

Night time eating is largely emotional eating (boredom, fatigue, anxiety) or part of a habit (eating while watching TV or browsing the computer/phone).

Our digestion needs a break to digest, heal and rebalance. The best time to do that is between your last meal (dinner) to your first meal the next day (breakfast).

So, let go of night time eating to allow your body to rest and digest. Again, choose to nourish the body instead of satisfying your mind.


The second two are mind-related. Letting go of some unproductive thoughts or words will give you so much freedom.

3. Let go of negative stories 

What negative stories do you have running in your brain? Are they true or are they projections of your mind? Are they serving you in some positive ways or are they causing more anxiety and worry?

You have the power to change these stories. Let go of them if these stories aren’t giving you positive results.

4. Let go of the shoulds

How long is your to-do list? How many of the items are considered “should dos”?

Prioritize how you spend your time, and let go of the shoulds if they are just clogging up your to-dos.

Often, the shoulds create unnecessary stress (or guilt, shame, disappointment). If you can let them go, even if for the time being, you will be giving yourself a gift of time and mental space to prioritize things that you can actually implement and accomplish.

 

 

Mid-Life Project: the coffee update

It’s been two weeks since I changed my coffee habits, as in, I gave it up cold turkey.

Granted, I still make coffee for my husband daily (he’s a lucky dude). Its aroma that fills the house each morning triggers the pleasure center in my brain. I sense that same desire for coffee immediately. The want is still there and there is a definite longing. I know this because these thoughts would twirl around in my mind:

“Should I have a small amount?”

“A little bit won’t hurt.”

“Nobody will know!”

Then I follow with these conversations with myself:

“You don’t need it right now.” answer: yup you’re right. 

“It won’t serve you today.” answer: nope, it won’t. 

“What are you capable of doing?” answer: a lot! I don’t need coffee. 

“How will you feel if you did have it?” answer: like I can’t trust myself, and I don’t want to feel that. 

 


Each day that goes by, that desire for coffee lingers a little less.

What I am finding is this: my body adjusted to no caffeine in just a few days, no problem, but my mind has not caught up yet. It still wants to create drama around this situation.

Clearly, the body requires less time to adapt to changes.

But it’s the mind that is in control.

How has giving up coffee serve me these last two weeks? I am not sure it has done too much in terms of physiological changes (I may be sleeping better). More importantly, what these two weeks have taught me is that my body is more than capable of taking care of itself when I allow it to do so. 

In addition, I am learning that when I manage my mind (like babysitting a toddler), I can pretty much withstand any emotions that appear. Those conversations are to be expected. How I respond to them will lead me to my actions which are entirely my own decisions.

I just need to remember that:

Change takes practice.

Change takes pausing.

Change takes persistence.

What about you? Do you find that your body excepts change so much more readily than your mind?

 

 

 

 

A Mid-Life Project: My Personal Journey

It’s been knocking at my door, this mid-life thing.

I turned 43 recently, and in so many ways, I am ecstatic.

  • I can properly call myself an adult, even though most of the time I am still looking for the adult in the room.
  • I am a legitimate mother of two amazing teenagers.
  • I am in a safe and loving marriage.
  • I have healthy parents and brother who are living full, exciting lives.
  • I love what I chose to and capable of doing in my profession.

I have so much gratitude at mid-life.

Seriously, I have nothing to complain about!

Except that my body is changing and showing signs of a woman experiencing mid-life. Slowly, but surely, I am being challenged by these classic symptoms (not inclusive):

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Night Sweats
  • Water retention
  • Hair loss
  • Food cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Unpredictable periods

Even though I realize that these are normal and to be expected (and tolerated), I am not ready to settle.

I am curious to see if there are things I am doing that exacerbate the process and symptoms.

 


This morning, drenched in sweat when I awoke, I stumbled downstairs to have my only cup of coffee of the day (strong, black, delicious).

I have to tell you that this might be one of my favorite parts of the day: early morning, quiet, me-time with coffee.

I love the smell, the ritual, the way it tastes and feels in my mouth.

Within minutes of drinking coffee, my head started buzzing, and I began to experience that false energy that caffeine provides.

I felt “ready” for the day.

Still nursing my coffee, I scrolled down my Instagram account quickly before getting ready for my 5am exercise class.

While doing so, I took off my rings that were tight on my puffy finger (water retention); my joints felt stiff (inflammation?). All the while, my clothes are still wet from the night sweat from my slumber.

I stopped at an instagram quote that said:

“What you resist the most, you need the most.”

Whoa!

I looked at my cup of coffee that I had been reluctant to give up despite what I know about its impact on hormones.

“What you resist the most, you need the most.” 

I have resisted giving up my cup of coffee for a long time. I have come up with many excuses of why it’s still okay for me to drink that one cup. I have felt sad ahead of time thinking about not having that coffee.

“What you resist the most, you need the most.”

And in that moment, I made the decision: No more caffeine. 

It’s just a start, I know.

There will be other resistants that I will challenge. But for now, it’s caffeine: coffee, chocolate, caffeinated teas. No sodas for me already, so that’s not hard.

 


 

Let’s see where this will take me, my mid-life body, and my resistant mind.

I am sharing this journey and this project here because I know that I do best with outer accountability. I also know that there are some of you out there who are in the same place, resisting something that might benefit you the most. 

Here’s to exploring what might be super uncomfortable!

It’s a good thing I like herbal tea. 🙂